Wednesday, December 8, 2010


The launch of ' Hidden Depths ' by The Small Impact Writers' which was due to take place tomorrow night has been postponed until Thursday16th December at 7pm in Navan library.
Apologies to all.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Book Launch

The Small Impact Writers' will be launching their first publication (Hidden Depths) on Thursday 9th December, in Navan Library at 7pm.

Hidden Depths is a collection of short stories and poems stories from far and near, places as diverse as: Poland  where during WW2 everything changed, from the Black Forest in Germany to Gundagai in New South Wales in Australia to the rugged mountains of Tora Bora in Afghanistan and our own ancient hill of Tara where the Phantom Whistler has been heard since 1534 and of course the curse of Tara and from there to above all places  Sweeney's Garden where ever that is?
And for the season that's in it there's a story or two with a Christmas flavour.

Typesetting and cover design by Oscar Duggan.
Cover photo by Sean Ross, from the grounds of An Tobar, Ardbracken Navan Co. Meath ( Holy Ghost Fathers )
Published with the assistance of The Author's Friend.
Printed and bound in Ireland by Gemini International Ltd



Thursday, November 25, 2010

Famine Trilogy

I had a very enjoyable trip to Drogheda on Wednesday 24th November in the company of Tommy Murray and James Linnane.  We attended a reading of the Viaduct Bards, all women, it was like falling into an orchard and I must say they made us very welcome.

Tommy done the driving and I'm glad to say James was navigater having been there before with the Boyne Writers' he was able to tell Tommy when to turn right or left.  I just sat in the back listening with my fingers crossed. 
 As we turned right at the Round O, Tommy noticed a very large light straight ahead.  James explained that it was a full Moon. He told Tommy to keep travelling towards it as it seemed to be directly over Drogheda.
On our way home James again explained to Tommy that this time the Moon would be to our left. 
When we reached Navan, Tommy turned into Woodlands and dropped me off at my house.   Just as I was getting out of the car I heard James tell Tommy to turn left on to the Trim Road when leaving Woodlands and that this time the Moon would be on the Right. 

To hear Tommy Murray reading   CLICK HERE 

Apologies for the poor light.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bard Of Armagh

Jimmy Rafferty, became the Bard of Armagh for an unprecedented fourth time with his poem ' HER MAJESTY'S PLEASURE 'at a packed Armagh City Hotel on Friday 19th November 2010.

I travelled to the event with Tommy Murray, who was one of twelve contestants battling for the title. Tommy was happy to make it to the short list with his poem ' ON BEING POLITICALLY CORRECT '

 Newcomer Colleen Downham took the inaugural Rosemary Twohig trophy with a superb performance of     'LADY GAA GAA '.

To hear Tommy reading his contribution    CLICK HERE  


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Lagan Love

Sean Reilly singing My Lagan Love at a meeting of the Meath Writer's Circle in the Trim Castle Hotel on 16th November 2010.
There was a good crowd in attendance with a great variety of poems and short stories read by all.
Frank Murphy has recorded a number of readings which should appear on his blog soon. CLICK HERE   for Frank's blog

On Friday 19th November I'll be travelling to Armagh with Tommy Murray.  Tommy has been short listed for the Bard of Armagh, perhaps it will be a case of third time lucky for Tommy who was runner up on two previous occasions. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Paul " Pipe " Sheils, playing the Didgeridoo.

A True Story

I came across this story on Face Book and thought you might like to see it.

In answer to a comment by Frank Murphy in which he asked, what's the story behind the video?.
I looked it up on the net and found it  HERE 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Navan Hospital Rally

Thousands turned up for the Save Navan Hospital Campaign.  Official sources put the figure at 10000 I reckon there was a lot more.  The route taken was from The Enterprise Center down the Trim Road, then turned right at Mercy Convent, past St Mary's Church at the Fair Green, up Ludlow Street, turned left at the Square up Trim Gate Street then up Brews Hill and on to Pairc Tailteann.  When the head of the march reached Pairc Tailteann the tail was stilll leaving the Enterprise Center on the Trim Road.
The marchers took part in the rally to oppose cuts in services at Our Lady's Hospital in Navan Co. Meath.

Well done to all who took part.

Tara Mines Rescue Team pictured above who took part in the march.

For video of Navan Hospital Rally CLICK HERE

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mossie's Story

Mossie Ford was born in Trim Co. Meath in 1949 the same year as myself.  I didn't know Mossie until just over a year ago when she joined the  'Small Impact Writers' who are based in Navan Library. Although Christened Mary, she is better known as Mossie.
 Mossie is the third eldest in a family of twelve.  She has written a book about her life and has dedicated it to her late parents - Michael and Eileen Forde R.I.P.

Mossie was born with Cerebral Palsey, her movement and speech are restricted and she  has lived most of her life in institutions.  But she is a very brave courageous person who has recently moved into independent living. Mossie's Story is beautifully written, at times humorous, at times sad but from the heart throughout.

Mossie also paints, in fact the cover of her book is one of her paintings.  The Authors Friend have a picture slide show on their website depicting some of Mossie's paintings and photos.

Mossie's book will be launched in Navan Library on Thursday 4th November at 7-30pm. 
The book will be on sale to the general public soon but can be bought from the Online Cathologue of The Author's Friend. Mossie's book would make an ideal Christmas present for that someone special in your life.

For more information go to The Authors Friend CLICK HERE  when there click News Blog. 

                                         Click photo to enlarge and once again for full screen.

Mossie, is pictured above at a special gathering which took place in Navan Library on Wednesday, 20th October to mark  National Social Inclusion Week when she made a presentation of her book.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Book Launch

I have just heard to day that Kieran Murray is having a book launch on Saturday 31October.  The event will take place in a marquee at the carpark on the Hill of Tara at 7.30pm until late. 

Kieran like most of us will be attending the " Save Our Lady's Hospital Campaign Rally  in Navan earlier that day.

For more information on Kieran's book go to the end of this page.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Sitting on the sidelines or on the fence cribbing and moaning is a lost opportunity, in fact, I don't know how people who engage in that don't commit suicide. 

The same man said " He never lodged sterling "

It sickens me to think that the man who uttered the above words hopes to become president of Ireland one day.  If this ever happens I for one shall not recognise him as such.

PS,  if you find him squating in your cupboard, call PEST CONTROL!!

Cromwell and Bertie

Cromwell spoke to Bertie
Saying 'Well done, that's my lad,
How you destroyed these old sites
It makes my old heart glad

'I too bullied the Irish
And I made them shake with fear
But compared to my destruction
You've done a lot more in one year

' How you violated those old graves
From Ardsallagh to Clonee
And desecrated the Tara Valley
That fills me full of glee.

' In the far and distant future
When driving through Rath Lugh
My name will be forgotten
But they'll all remember you'

Poem by,
Kieran Murray

The above poem appears in Kieran's book " The Vigil " a book dedicated to the people concerned about the preservation of all the ancient monuments in our Tara Valley.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Poetry Day

Pictured above in St Patrick's Cathedral, Loman Street,Trim, Michael Farry reading one of his favourite poems "Father and Son" by F. R. Higgins. The event was organised by the Boyne Writers' to celebrate All Ireland Poetry Day 7th October. It was an enjoyable occasion with many contributers reading their favourite poems to an enthusiastic audience.

At 7pm another successful poetry event was held in Navan library organised by Tom French of the Meath County Library service and Tommy Murray Meath Writers' Circle. Just like in Trim the event was well supported.
I enjoyed the event enormously but had to leave early due to other commitments but I managed to take a few photos before leaving.

Pictured top: Paddy Pryle, first row L/R Paul Martin, Tommy Murray
Second row L/R Michael Sheils and Willie Hodgins
Third row Tom French and Frank Murphy
Bottom Edel Gillick

Sunday, September 26, 2010

All Ireland Poetry Day

To celebrate All Ireland Poetry Day, the Meath Library Service and the Meath Writers Circle invite you to come along and enjoy a poetry reading on Thursday 7th October at 7pm in the Navan Library. If you have a favourite poem which you would like to read why not bring it along and have a go.
Tommy Murray, Meath Writers Circle, Tom French, Meath Library Service.

The Boyne Writers have organised a reading for earlier in the day. It will be held in St Patrick's Cathedral, Loman Street Trim at 12 noon. And for the people of Kells there's a reading planned for the Resource Center at 5pm.

For more info CLICK HERE


Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Congratulations to Kieran Murray, ( Kyrie ) on the publication of his new book  " SUMMER SOLSTICE " A beautifully written book of contemproary poetry.  Kieran lives in Kilmessan near the Hill of Tara in Co. Meath and he is a member of the Small Impact writers Group based in Navan.
Kieran's book is a celebration in memory of people who stood up for justice equality and rights for all.  People like : Rosa Parks, Lydia Litvyak " The White Rose of Stalingrad " and our own Jim Connell author of " The Red Flag " and many more, for sporting fans there's a poem to one of Belfast's finest sons George Best.

Kieran's book can be bought in Easons on Paddy O'Brien Street, Navan's newest street adjacent to the Shopping Center. Price €10.

Kieran's book Summer Solstice is now on sale at all good bookshops and from the Online Catalogue of The Author's Friend.  RRP €10 plus €3.15 for delivery within Ireland; € 4.85 overseas. For more information from The Authors Friend  CLICK HERE .


Pictured above Kieran with his book.  Click photo to enlarge and once more for full screen.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mark Doyle reading at the Battle of the Books

To hear Mark Doyle reading at the Battle of the Books, which took place on 4th July 2010 in the Trim Castle Hotel, Trim, Co. Meath.  CLICK HERE


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Overheard on a Street in Trim

Overheard on a street in Trim. Group of American tourists admiring the scene one says to the other " Why did they build a castle so close to the highway?


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Paul (Pipe) Sheils, playing the Jaw Harp


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Climbing the Ben

My son Paul (Pipe),likes to spend some time in the mountains.  He had a blog site titled Hillwalking Adventures where he was writing about his experiences.  He decided to delete the site and turn it into a  book instead.

To see him and his climbing companion John Paul Kearney ( The Pope's Child ) climb Ben Nevis, Scotland's highest peak



Today I saw a White-winged butterfly
Fly silently past my window.
It caught my eye like when I was a boy.
Then my heart skipped a beat
when it returned for a treat in my garden
I had visions of happy carefree days filled with joy
Chasing butterflies through the fields around Navan Town
But now in the Autumn of my life
I was just happy to watch
as it fluttered from flower to flower
sucking petal after petal.
 When it had it's fill
it flew away just as silently as it came
I thought! I'd tell you so.

Michael " The Sheriff " Sheils.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Tommy Murray has been invited to the White House

In recognition of his overwhelming success at the Battle of the Books, Tommy Murray, has been  invited to the White House, on 4th August. There he will entertain the multitudes when he reads from his book, " Counting Stained Glass Windows".

Tommy pictured above, in suit with no tie, reading at the launch of his book " Counting Stained Glass Windows" in Trim Library 20th August 2009.

It's rumoured that Tommy will travel by Magic Carpet ( bus pass ) that way he'll be able to have a drink.

Venue, The White House Pub, O'Connell St, Limerick.  4th Aug time 9-30 pm.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tommy Murray's Team Wins The Battle of The Books

The Battle of The Books took place last Sunday 4th July in the Castle Hotel Trim.

The Meath Writers' Circle, lead by Tommy Murray, beat the Boyne Writers' by Three points.

Pictured L/R: Jimmy Peppard, Tommy Murray, Frank Murphy and Mark Doyle. Well done lads.

 To hear Tommy Murray and Frank Murphy reading  CLICK HERE  for Tommy   HERE  for Frank.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Boy who Fell Down the Well

 Edel Gillick, from Navan, who is a member of the Small Impact Writers' Group, will launch her first book ( The Boy who Fell Down the Well ) next Thurs 17th June in the Navan library at7pm.

 A beautifully written Childrens book. It tells the story of a brave young boy named Stephano who lives in a small village with his family of six sisters and two brothers. Stephano shows great courage when the local bully Alberto falls down a well.

Edel's book can be bought in Easons on Paddy O'Brien Street, Navan, beside Navan Shopping Center or from The Authors Friend  on line catalogue by,  CLICKING HERE
 Published by TAF Publishing
Illustrations by Sharon Maher-Bordalo
Typesetting, Layout and Cover Design by Oscar Duggan.
Printed in Ireland by Gemini International Ltd.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A great night was had by all last Thursday when The Small Impact Writers Group from Navan, held a fund raising event in aid of the Kayley Dunne Appeal. It was a lively  humorous event with a wonderful mixture of music song and dance along with recitals of poetry and prose from members of the writers' group.
 The nights entertainment  was co presented by Edel Gillick and Jim Byrne, who did an excelent job and they both read from their own work.

Thanks to all who took part and attended on the night and a special thanks to Noel Foley and his wife Mary for the use of The Back Room, one of Navan's best known session rooms.

Pictured, Jim Byrne with cheque for €753.16 which was raised on the night and next to him Kayley with her Mum Jackie.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Jim Connell

Above legendary miners' leader Arthur Scargill addressing the crowd at this years event.

On May 2nd 2010 I attended the annual Jim Connell Commemoration Parade in Crossakiel.  It was the 12th annual event and my first time to be there and I must say, if the Lord spares me, it won't be my last.
At a meeting in Kilskyre Hall 28th March 1997 a committee was set up with a view to erecting a memorial to the famous son of Kilskyre, Jim Connell, who was born there in 1852.  On 26th April 1998 a monument to Jim Connell was unveiled  in Crossakiel, Co. Meath, Ireland on the spot where he addressed a crowd of 600 in 1918.
Jim Connell wrote the Song " The Red Flag " in 1889 while travelling on a train between Charing Cross and New Cross in London.  It was written first to a tune called " The White Cockade " a lively Jacobite anthem but was later set to the music " Tannenbaum " and old German hymn.  It quickly became the anthem of the International Labour Movement. 
To hear Cllr Dermot Looney singing the Red Flag on the day CLICK HERE

For more songs of Irish Labour CLICK HERE

Pictured above Michael "The Sheriff " Sheils.
Photo by John Doyle.
John Doyle has travelled the length and breath of the country covering occasions and events. He has a great collection of photographs which can be bought from his site. So if you were at a particular event and would like to have some photos why not visit his site he just might have what you're looking for CLICK HERE   


Saturday, May 22, 2010


Congratulations to Willie Hodgins on a wonderful performance at the Boyne Readings where he was featured writer on the night. Willie put his heart in to it as he read from his book "Sunflower" but then that's where his heart is, in his poetry.
Willie was followed by an open mic session which was enjoyed by all. Somebody spilled a pot of coffee, I wonder who?

Pictured on the night L/R: Paddy Duffy, Willie Hodgins. Tommy Murray and guess who?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Just back from a trip to Poland where I managed to dodge the ash cloud.
Glad to see that William (Willie) G Hodgins is the featured writer at the next Boyne Writers' reading event on Thursday 20th May at 8pm in the Village Hall, Knightsbridge Village, Longwood Road, Trim, Co. Meath. Willie is a native of Bohermeen and a  member of the Meath Writers' Circle. He launched his first collection of poetry titled 'Sunflower' in the Navan Library on 23rd April 2009.
To hear Willie reading at the launch of Tommy Murray's book " Counting Stained Glass Windows" which was held in Trim Library on 20th August 2009.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

In The Back Room

The Small Impact Writers' Group, who are based in Navan Library are holding a fund raising night in aid of the Kayley Dunne Appeal.
The event will take place in The Lantern ( The Back Room ) Watergate St, Navan on the 27th May next.
Local musicians and writers will be providing the entertainment on the night.
Admission at door €5.

Kayley is due to travel to America in October for a life changing operation.
For more information click here

Friday, April 30, 2010

Navan's Walking Bus

Over 1450 pupils from 10 primary schools in Navan took part in a record breaking attempt last Monday 26th April 2010.
They now hold the Irish record for the longest"walking bus" in the country.
Some 1454 children from second up to sixth class departed from the Fair Green and made their way around the town to set the record for Ireland's  longest walking Bus measuring 216.8m.
The record attempt was part of Navan Town's Council's initiative to promote the town's bid in the Smarter Travel Competition. Navan has been shortlisted along with 10 other towns in the Department of Transports Smarter Travel Competition and has the chance to share €50m in funding over the next five years. An integral part of the town's bid is getting the local community involved and finding out their ideas on how the town should develope in terms of sustainable transport.
Schools participating in the envent were: St Oliver's NS, St Paul's NS, Scoil Mhuire, Gael Scoil Eanna, St Anne's Ns, St Joseph's NS, St Mary's Special School, Scoil Naomh Eoin and Navan Educate Together.

For video   CLICK HERE

Part of the crowd assembled on the Fair Green

Click photo to enlarge and once more for full screen.

Well done to all involved.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

With The Boyne Through Trim

I don't know where Tommy Murray gets his energy he has managed to do it yet again.  Tommy has just published his twelfth book ( With The Boyne Through Trim ).

It's obvious that Tommy has a great love for his home town of Trim.  Tommy has well and truly put Trim on the map through his writings and dare a Navan man say it, I think the people of Trim should name their next street or perhaps housing estate after him.
I was thousands of miles away when Tommy launched his book and on my return the first batch were sold out so I had to wait a while but eventually got a copy.
In his book Tommy takes the reader on a nostalgic journey of the river Boyne from Stoneyford River to beyond Bective Abbey, a short journey one might say but one steeped in history.
Tommy's book is beautifully written and the imagery is somethingelse, ( there's nothing more miserable than a hen standing on one leg at the front door on a rainy day ), if I could, I'd give the hen a hug I thought as I read.
Thanks to Tommy a lot of Trim's recent history survives. Who for instance, especially amoung the younger generation would know that one of Trim's parish priest's was a part time farmer?.
After navigating the Boyne, Tommy then takes the reader on a ghost tour of the town, so if you'd like to know more about Trim get a copy of Tommy's book.

The book can be bought in Trim Post Office and in Antonia's Bookshop, Navan Gate, Trim, and in Trim Visitor Centre in Trim Town Hall.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I spied a pair of Mermaids
on the Costa Adeje.
So beautiful were they
I decided to take them away
to the Emerald Isle with me.
For all of you to see.

Michael " The Sheriff " Sheils

Sunday, April 4, 2010

My New Cap

Tommy Murray has told the world
about my new cap
so I thought I'd show you
the real thing.

Click to enlarge

Michael " The Sheriff  " Sheils



Strange when you're young
you never think that your father
was once young like you.
Mine passed away a few years ago aged 92.
I was in a local store the other day browsing.
The store was full of mirrors
I happened to glance at one
and who did I see?
My father glancing back at me.
He was wearing a moustache.
I never knew him to wear a moustache
and yet it had already turned grey.
I hadn't noticed before.
He seemed a wee bit sad
I thought!
Perhaps it was the realisation
that he was getting on in years.
Then I heard a familiar voice from behind
it was my beloved wife Josephine.
Just then a smile broke out on my fathers face.
I recognised that smile
It was the smile he always had for my mother.

Michael " The Sheriff " Sheils 

Friday, March 5, 2010


What A Tease

The Daffodil
is late this year.
Don't fret
she's only playing
hard to get.
She'll soon be here
dressed to please.
With an infectious smile
 from ear to ear
her face a golden glow.
Dancing gaily in the breeze
What a tease.

Michael " The Sheriff " Sheils

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


The first Boyne Readings and Open Mic session of the year took place in the Village Hall, Knightsbridge, Trim last Thursday18 February.

Paddy Smyth was master of ceremonies, Susan Connolly, and I read from our own collections to a small but appreciative audience in the Village Hall. Susan read some of her finest poems and I read prose.

Members of the audience read in the open mic session. There was a great variety of style and content to the poems and stories read, some tinged with sadness, others hilarious and Michael Regan reenacted court room dramas from his time as a legal eagle.

 Tea and bickies were served afterwards and I hit the road  for Navan.

Susan Connolly, Michael Sheils.
Photo courtesy P. Smyth, The Boyne Writers'

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Boyne Writers' Open Mic Night

The Boyne Writers', are holding their first open mic session of the year, next Thursday18 February, in the Village Hall, Knightsbridge, Trim at 8oc.

The featured readers are Susan Connolly and yours truly.

Susan Connolly lives in Droghed Co. Louth and is one of Ireland's best known poets.  She was winner of  The Patrick and Catherine Kavanagh Fellowship for poetry in 2001.

Her principle poetry collections include For The Stranger ( Dublin Dedalus Press, 1993 ); and with Anne-Marie Moroney, Stone and Tree Sheltering Water: An Exploration of Sacred and Secular Wells in Co. Louth ( Flax Mill, 1998 ).

Other short collections include, How High The Moon ( Poetry Ireland / Cooperation North 1991 ); Race to the Sea ( Flax Mill, 1999 ); Ogham: Ancesters Remembered in Stone ( Flax Mill 2000 ); A Salmon in the Pool ( Tearmann, 2001 ) a literary and placenames map of the River Boyne from source to sea.

Her most recent collection of poetry is Forest Music ( 2009 )

Source courtesy Boyne Writers' web site.

As for myself, well, self praise, is no praise, what you see on the night is what you'll get.
I'm looking foward to the event and hoping that Paddy Smyth forgets his whistle.

I was in Navan library the other day, lost in a book, when Noel French sneaked up on me and whispered in my ear " I hear the people of Trim are erecting barricades all over town "
" Why "
" To keep the Sheriff out "
I looked him straight in the eye and said, " Have car, will travel!! "
This seemed to unnerve him as he glanced to the ground to avoid eye contact.

Admission €5: tea, coffee and biscuits provided.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


To hear: Gerry Tully, Kane O'Rourke and my son Paul Sheils ( Pipe ) performing in the Solstice Art Center Navan.       CLICK HERE

Monday, February 1, 2010



The Mine holds dangers
dark and deep
What I remember is the darkness.
The stench of diesel
taking your breath away.
The noise.
The unrelenting noise
which still rings in my ear
to this day.
The danger.
The No 7 orepass
spewing out it's deadly cloud
of dry dust
blinding as you drove through the ribcage.
Rock-bolts, pelican picks and scaling bars.
The unsocible hours.
The long graveyard shifts.
Icicles hanging from the back
in wintertime.
Wind on the decline
which cut to the bone.
I'll never forget
Bud Ditto's words at the interview.
" How hungry are you?
only I was so God damned hungry
I never would have gone in to mining " Bud said
I remember other colleagues too
the ones who survived
some scarred for life
and those who lost their lives.
And all for what.
To have our pensions stolen.
Shame on the company.

Friday, January 1, 2010


The guitar stands silent
at the foot of the stairs
Yet it echoes in my ear
beautiful sounds
as if you were here.
I glance at the guitar and remember
every note you strummed
echoing in my ear.
Beautiful memories it brings to mind
like the time you returned with your family
Patrycja and baby daughter Amelia.
I can still see the delight in Amelia's eyes
when she saw the guitar there on the stairs.
She couldn't help but strum the strings
even though she's only two
she made a beautiful sound.
All too soon you had to go
now the guitar stands silent
at the foot of the stairs
But still echoing in my ear
while the memories linger.

Michael " The Sheriff " Sheils